An active performer and teacher of the Baroque one-keyed flute, Richard Graef has an extensive collection of historic flutes. At the Northwestern University School of Music, where he is currently an associate professor in flute, he teaches both modern and early flute technique. He also was honored with a Grammy Award for his performances with the ensemble Chicago Pro Musica.
During the 1990s, Graef teamed up with his flutist wife Emily to lead the Galena Chamber Ensemble in an extensive chamber music concert series in Galena, Ill. More recently, the couple has been active in the Chicago area performing with other CSO colleagues as the Juliani Ensemble.
Along with music, Graef has an active interest in environmental causes and is involved in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the restoration and preservation of a remnant oak woodland and tall-grass prairie on his property in Wisconsin.
Why did you choose your instrument?
I loved the flute sound.
Offstage, I like to:
Work on my tallgrass prairie restoration in Wisconsin.
What piece programmed in the 2013/14 season do you hope more people will come to appreciate, and why?
I am delighted to see that Maestro Mark Elder will be conducting Charles Ives’ Second Symphony with us this spring. I have always loved the raw creativity of Ives’ music, and I feel that he states something very special of the American spirit, uninhibited by the European convention.
Describe an unforgettable musical moment (as a performer or as a listener) you had as a young musician.
At age 14, I got to hear the Philadelphia Orchestra on tour, performing Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, with master flutist William Kincaid as soloist. I left that concert and told my parents that I wanted to be a musician.
Favorite food or meal:
Good Southern greens (kale, collard and mustard), done right with minced garlic and magic seasoning from the Old South.
Beyond Belief by Elaine Pagels.
HOMETOWN: Fort Wayne, Ind.
YEAR JOINED THE CSO: 1968.
EDUCATION: Oberlin College Conservatory, Indiana University and the Mozarteum Academy of Music in Salzburg, Austria.
FULL BIO here.